Sunday, October 26, 2014

Covering the Creepy Holiday Spectrum in an Entire Day- Kate Baked Her Ass off!

Yesterday I spent the day in the kitchen- literally. From making cranberry muffins for brunch to beer-battered fish 'n' chips for dinner, I never left. This was because I was making the fanciest of cakes while also making my foray into the cake pop world. So when it came time to run errands today, I slicked back my hair, slapped on a coat of Spackle (or makeup, not sure which), and muttered to the mirror, "This is as good as its gonna get today." My husband overheard this and managed to coddle me in a manner that involved an analogy about cake (he really knows how to handle my crazy). He told me when I put on makeup and fix my hair, its like he's getting really, really fancy cake; but even when I don't get all done up, he's still getting cake either way, and cake is awesome. Sigh, managing to intertwine my love of cake and my love of my own reflection all in one fell swoop- what a guy. He's going to be getting so much cake its ridiculous...
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene!
Pulling double duty in the kitchen this week turned out just as I had hoped. One awesome sugar skull cake for Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead for those of you who do not habla the EspaƱol), and Jack O'Lantern and Jack Skellington cake pops! While the cake was somewhat time consuming because I mixed about ten thousand different dyes to make the cake colorful, the hardest part of the cake pops was waiting for them to set in the freezer. If you want to be the hit of your Halloween party next weekend, let me give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to make both of these spooktacularly tasty treats. I'll start with the beginner-level stuff for those of you who don't want a terrible challenge, but still want to look like a creative genius with these cake pops. Just don't tell anyone how easy it is like I'm doing now, or people won't be quite as impressed. The things I do for you all...
Surprisingly, not dressing for turkey.
 All you need for cake pops is a tub of your favorite flavored frosting, decorative sticks, chocolate melts in your preferred colors (orange and white in this case), a food-safe marker, and one cake- made and cooled. I actually made two cakes for my sugar skull cake, and realized I only needed one (first-world problems are still pretty awesome). I still had a ton of scraps from cutting out the skull shape, so I used these scraps to make my cake pops. Simply crumble up your cake into fine little bits. This is where I realized a food processor would be a worthwhile investment, but if I bought one, it would have to come with its own house because I have nowhere to put one in my kitchen as it is currently bursting at the seams. These are the kind of first-world problems that are not so awesome.
Also, not mayonnaise.
Once you've crumbled your cake, throw half a tub of icing into it. Things get messy here, but there's no turning back at this point...unless taking a spoon and just eating a bowl of cakey icing is your thing. I'm not judging you; it sounds like a really great idea. Mix together the frosting and crumbs. I found the easiest way to do this was by hand. And once I was done, you better believed I licked a finger or two.
I also won't judge you for eating the cake pops in this form, either.
Take a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, and go to town. You'll have to finish forming the balls by hand, but they should stick together nicely in consistency. If you want to add more frosting because you feel like they're not sticking together well enough or want a really sweet cake pop, go for it. Place your shaped cake pops onto a Parchment-lined baking sheet, and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours and go about your life. Watch a movie, eat the remaining icing, whatever. This is the chill dessert for multiple reasons. Once your time is up, empty a bag of melts into a deep microwave-safe dish. Heat for 30 seconds, mix, and repeat three times.
Take your fancy stick and dip it into the melted chocolate.
Wonder if people will judge you for your slippers.
Then skewer your pops. Give it a few minutes,
and let the chocolate harden so it glues the stick in place.
I made the mistake of not waiting long enough, and some of my pops kept falling off while I was trying to dip them into the melted chocolate. I don't blame them- I'd hang out in a giant dish of melted chocolate for as long as acceptable, too. One day...
Ahhh, serenity.
Once your sticks are in place, dip the cake pop into the melted chocolate, completely submerging it; I used a small spoon to run more chocolate on the top of my pops. I found it easiest to pull the pop straight up and out quickly, so I did not get any weird, runny action from the melted chocolate. I swept off excess chocolate by wiping the bottom of the pop on the edge of my Tupperware. This is somewhat challenging, but after a couple, you will get the hang of it and be making professional-looking pops, while eating the two wonky-ass pops for yourself. You know, to make sure they're acceptable for sharing.
Repeat the process with the other colored chocolate melts, and set everything back on the Parchment-lined tray.
Let these bad boys dry for awhile (I ate dinner and then came back to them- so I can't give you a scientific allotment of time- just enough for me to stuff my face and need looser pants). Then finish them off by drawing faces on to the pops with your food-safe pen! So easy, a child can do it! Or a grown woman on her fifth wind. Whatevs.
Spoooooky. Okay, more like, cuuuutttte.
"What's this? What's this? There's color everywhere!" (You're welcome for getting that song stuck in your head- now go watch Nightmare Before Christmas...but not until after you finish reading my blog, dammit.)
Keep these refrigerated because they are way better cold. They can keep for up to two weeks in there- which is totally unnecessary because they won't last that long. I need to find some sort of container to house these in, as they will be traveling into the great state of Texas when we go visit Derek's family next week. I imagine their simply being in Texas will make them taste even better than they already were. Now, onto the advanced portion of today's blog... I realize this is hilarious because we're starting out with box cake and a pre-made decoration, but just go with me on this.
As previously mentioned, you only need one cake for this.
Also, depending on how you decorate your skull, pre-made roses are an awesome addition to the ojos.
You will need a stupid amount of brightly-colored gel dye, multiple #3 tips, and one #6 tip.
Make your cake in a 9x13 pan, and then let it cool. While cooling, make your life supremely easier by finding a sugar skull template online, printing it on heavy-stock paper, and cutting it out. I even colored in how I envisioned my skull. This makes the decorating process about one thousand times easier because you're not going in blind (This comes from a woman who plans her week several days in advance in a planner, and gets frustrated when things do not unfold as I told them to when I wrote them down. Life, what a rude jerk.). 
I realize it looks more like a Terminator right now, but just go with me here.
Place your template on the cake, and carefully cut around it. Even if you don't plan on making cake pops at this very instant because you're not a crazy glutton for punishment and cake in many forms, I recommend saving your scraps in the fridge in case you change your mind or just want to eat them for breakfast. Word.
I may not be able to color inside the lines, but I can cut anything like a pro.
CAREFULLY transfer your skull to a decorating board. I used a large spatula and a whole lot of prayer to get this part done. Thank you, 5 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus. Whip together a batch of white frosting. For this batch with the funfetti cake, I added lemon extract instead of almond and it was ah-mazing. I recommend placing your cake in the freezer while you make your frosting so that the crumbs aren't absolutely out of control when you try to frost the sides of the cake. A few extra minutes in the freezer will save you from a crumble-addled breakdown later. Firsthand knowledge is my gift to you.
Post-breakdown, and many sighs of relief later.
Be sure to give this cake a solid crumb coat, freeze again for 20, and then put on a final frosting coat. Put it back into the freezer to let it set, and then use that handy paper towel trick to smooth out your skull. No one likes a bumpy skull in real life, or on cake. You can mix your frosting dyes while your final coat is setting in the freezer. I just used canned decorator frosting.
Yea, I ran out of couplers, so the last bag I just snipped a tiny corner off of. Ghetto, but effective. Fit the black frosting with a #6 tip because you need it to be thicker to fill in the eyes and nose. Place a #3 tip on everything else.
Now comes the fun part. I sincerely enjoy decorating this cake more than anything else I've done to this point because it allows for so much creativity and color. I have always loved the vibrancy of Dia de Los Muertos and the fact that it is a celebration of passed loved ones, so it was absolute kismet that Derek (I keep him around for infinite reasons!) suggested I make a sugar skull cake when I was contemplating what treat to make for Halloween. If you don't know much about the Day of the Dead, I recommend doing some reading over it because I feel like Mexico is doing their passed loved ones way better justice than we do with this holiday. It is simply amazing. PSA over, now back to making the sugar skull. You really can start with whatever part of the skull you like, but I went for the basics first- eyes, mouth, nose.
Oh, you're welcome for not rotating this picture.
Yes, my sugar skull does have a bitchin' uni-brow.
Fill in the eyes and nose by just tracing them in and smoothing the frosting out with a small spatula.
Then come back in and start adding details! The more color, the better. Rarely does life present me an opportunity to say that. This mantra still does not apply to fashion- keep that shit simple, people. Don't go all clowny on me.
Don't mind me, still laughing at my Terminator template. What? I find me hilarious.
Once you've finished with your frosting, simply smoosh (very technical term) the roses into the eye sockets.
I wanted to spruce up the sides of the cake, so I added S-shaped designs with dots on to the sides.
And there you have it! The hardest part of this cake really is probably mixing all the frosting. Scratch that- the hardest part of this cake is having to cut into it. I wouldn't let us touch the cake for a full 24 hours because I wanted to revel in its beauty before devouring it whole. That's the sad paradox with fancy cakes- I want to eat you because I know you will be delicious, but I don't want to eat you because you're so damned pretty. I think we all know which side of the paradox played out in this household. 
You are so beautiful, to meeeee. Until I literally cut your head off.
I still have an extra skull cake in my freezer, whose face will be decorated at a date to be later determined by yours truly. I sincerely recommend making this skull cake to wow people and then make them feel bad about eating your work of art so they'll let you drink their booze for free at their party. Cake guilt. Its a thing now. This will wrap up my blogs for Foxtober (yes, that's also a thing). I'll be back with more tasty treats in early November, I promise! For now, we will be off enjoying a trip to Tejas and time with Derek's family. Enjoy your Halloween because it is the greatest holiday ever! Try not to steal any candy from kids, and be sure to dress up like an unabashed giant child. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me some love, some advice, tell me the meaning of life...whatever you fancy! You don't have to have a Blogger account, you can leave a comment by clicking "Anonymous" in the "Comment As" box..but if you're not a troll, leave me your name after your comment so I know who said what!